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India: No deal struck with Italy on marines

India says the case does not entitle death penalty as pair accused of murder return

Image Credit: AFP
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone touched down in an Italian military plane on Friday.
Gulf News

New Delhi: India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said no deal has been worked out with Italy for bringing back the marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen.

The Indian government, however, has “clarified” to Italian authorities that the case does not entitle death penalty.

“We had no deal anywhere. No deal in Geneva, no deal in Colombo, no deal in Rome,” Khurshid told reporters here.

Meanwhile, the two Italian marines arrived back in New Delhi Friday to face murder charges following a last-minute climbdown by their government, leaving India to savour victory at the end of a bitter standoff.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone touched down in an Italian military plane in the evening after being flown from their homeland, AFP reported.

The Indian Supreme Court had allowed the marines to return home last month to vote in the Italian election in exchange for a promise from the Italian ambassador that they would return within four weeks.

Their arrival came after a shock decision by Italy’s government to drop its opposition to their trial in India for shooting dead two fishermen off the coast of Kerala.

The Indian government which had issued orders to immigration authorities to prevent Rome’s ambassador to New Delhi from leaving the country, hailed Italy’s U-turn as a victory for diplomacy.

Italy caused outrage in India by announcing on March 11 that Latorre and Girone would not return after they were given bail to vote in last month’s Italian election, reneging on pledges made at the Supreme Court.